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Calculus Pup

I just returned from a calc group session at school with my friends and our calculus teacher.  My friend, in an attempt to make Taylor Polynomials and series less of a burden, brought along her little dog.  Ironically, as I was sitting there, the pup inspired what I am afraid will be my final blog post of my AP Physics C year.  Well, my friend had gotten up from her seat, and the dog, which was tied by a leash to the chair, wanted a change of scenery.  As a result, she attempted to jump onto the

aweld98

aweld98

 

Trampolines

As a kid, I was always at my neighbor's house because they always had the newest and coolest trampoline.  Turns out that this cool contraption requires many physics concepts in order to work. The energies required for a spring are kinetic energy, gravitational potential energy, and spring potential energy.  When you bend your knees in order to take your first jump, you are using your gravitational force downward in order to compress the spring in the trampoline (work from your knees is transferr

aweld98

aweld98

 

5, 6, 7, 8....and Grand Jete!

Since I am a ballet dancer, it would be fair to mention one of the most impressive ballet moves performed: the grand jete. For non-dancers, this move can be described as a "split like jump"; the dancer takes off by extending one leg into the air and taking off into a projectile type motion.  In the best case scenario, the ballerina hits a perfect split at the peak of her parabolic path, creating a split second mesmerizing image for the audience to enjoy.  In order to complete this leap, several

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aweld98

 

Metronomes

A very useful device for many instrumentalists and musicians, in particularly string players, is a metronome. A mechanical metronome is a box like object that produces a steady beat. A musician sets this beat based on the tempo marking of the piece which they are practicing, and then the beats produced by the metronome help the musician to play at a steady pace and to avoid rushing or slowing. So, how does a metronome work?  Well, from the outside, a metronome actually appears like an upside dow

aweld98

aweld98

 

Projectiles and March Madness

Unless you are living under a rock, you would know that March Madness and the beloved basketball season are officially coming to a close.  As sad as this end may be for some die hard basketball fans, it should be noted that the sport of basketball (like most other things in our world) is possible only due to the presence of physics.  While there are many possible applications of physics, from the friction between the shoes of the players and the court, to the tension (or lack thereof) in the str

aweld98

aweld98

 

Bridges and Mutes

At first glance, this blog post may appear to be about the physics behind a large civil structure on which vehicles and human beings move across.  However, that is not the case.  This post is about the importance and purpose of a bridge in the structure and function of a violin, as well as the impact a mute has on a violin's performance.  On the violin, the bridge is a wooden structure perpendicular to the rest of the violin; it sits atop the wooden face of the violin, and the four strings lie a

aweld98

aweld98

 

Swinging on Swings

One of my favorite activities as a young kid was to play on the playground; I loved the monkey bars and slides, but one of my all time favorite thing to do would be to swing on a swing.  Swings give the sensation of flying, which is probably why I loved them so much.  Ironically, the way a swing works happens to revolve a lot around the conservation of energy.  Think about it: In order to start swinging, someone has to either give the swing a push, or the swinger must kick themselves off of the

aweld98

aweld98

 

Static Shock

Yesterday, as I climbed into bed, bundled up in blankets and a heavy sweatshirt, I reached across by bed to grab a final blanket.  All of the sudden, out of the darkness I saw a spark, which was followed by a stinging feeling in my finger.  Had I not learned about electrostatics, I probably would have screamed and thought that there was something wrong with me or that the house was on fire.  However, physics helped me to understand that I was not dying and that what had happened was simply an at

aweld98

aweld98

 

Snow, Ice, and Car Turns

In a previous blog post I wrote about how the lower coefficient of friction due to ice causes a decrease in rotational motion and an increase in skidding when someone is driving.  I want to extend on that topic only because a few weeks ago, when the snow was really bad, I first hand experienced the horror of making a turn without a strong centripetal force present.  It was rather snowy and icy, and my friend was driving.  However, as they went to make the turn, they turned too sharply, and we sk

aweld98

aweld98

 

Planes falling out of the sky?!

For winter break, I traveled with my friend to southern Florida in order to escape the chilling winds and snow.  Yesterday, as we returned from our sunny break and descended into our final destination, I applied physics in a kind of unique way.  As the plane got closer and closer to the ground, the turbulence became increasingly worse (the pilot had warned us that this was expected due to strong winds).  As the descend continued and the bumpiness of the ride worsened, I heard a little boy in fro

aweld98

aweld98

 

Johnny English Pendulum

Like I said in my last blog post, I love spy movies, and I think I am starting to love them more and more because of all the physics applications in them.  While Bond movies are awesome, I would say my all time favorite film would be Johnny English starring Rowan Atkinson, most known for his role of playing Mr. Bean.  In the film, Atkinson plays a mock agent, and pretty much no one takes him seriously or believes that he can be successful at anything.  However, after several mess ups, Johnny man

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aweld98

 

James Bond and Flipping Cars

I love spy movies, so its no surprise that when my family received Casino Royale (a James Bond movie), for Christmas, that I was glued to the T.V.  In the film, James' female counterpart, Vesper, is kidnapped by evil gamblers.  Being the smart guy that he is, James quickly figures out their plot, hops into his Aston Martin and speeds after the kidnappers.  However, his kidnappers are actually after Bond, so they tie up Vesper and place her directly in the road; Bond swerves to avoid Vesper, his

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aweld98

 

Landsat Satellite Imagery

I spent this summer internship working in a remote sensing lab.  My job was to analyze Landsat satellite imagery in order to analyze the impact of wildfire on vegetation growth in Akagera National Park in Rwanda.  I was able to do this analysis because of the data provided by the satellite.  Satellite orbits are possible because of the strong gravitational field of the Earth and the relative masses of the satellite and the Earth.  For example, for the Landsat 8 imagery that I analyzed, the force

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aweld98

 

Erasers and Pencils

We all learn the importance of friction in how the world works at a very young age.  For me, a Bill Nye video revealed the power and importance of this contact force.  Without it, we wouldn't be able to stand still in one place, driving would be a nightmare, and about everything else in our lives would be completely out of whack, from our electronics to our daily routines.  Today, however, as I was doing homework, I had a realization of friction that, although simplistic, was something I had to

aweld98

aweld98

 

Doors and Torque

A few days ago, my sister and I were leaving school.  As our hands were both full, she used her body weight in order to push on the main door in order to exit the building.  However, the door would not budge.  I quickly realized that my sister, in her attempt to open the door, was not applying torque to her favor in this situation.  Torque, which is the rotational equivalent of linear force, is dependent on three factors: the angle at which the force is applied, the magnitude of the force, and t

aweld98

aweld98

 

Ice Skating

Thanks to the freezing cold, our family ice rink is up and running as of this week; today was the first day that I managed to squeeze in a skate.  While physics has many applications to ice skating, the two I thought about today while freezing in the bitter cold were centripetal acceleration and work.  Because my rink is rather small, most of the time I am going around a turn instead of skating in a straight line.  As I was going around these turns, I realized that I was distributing a majority

aweld98

aweld98

 

Sledding

I will have to apologize in advance, but the snow outside has me really excited, so the next few blog posts may very well be about winter physics.  One thing that I am very excited to do now that it is officially winter, is sledding/tubing.  As I am not a very good skier or snow boarder, I opt for the easier version; sitting and allowing gravity to do the rest.  All of these downhill, winter activities, however, are possible thanks to conservation of energy and friction.  Conservation of energy

aweld98

aweld98

 

Dangerous Driving

After much anticipation and a not very white Christmas, it is finally snowing outside.  Well, it is more like a blizzard, but either way I am stoked because if actually feels like winter.  Anyways, this morning I had rehearsal for the school show and was eager to jump in the car and drive to school; my parents, however,  were not as keen on my operating the car on this cold and snowy day.  Don't get me wrong, I am not a bad driver, but the weather conditions, especially the ice, made my parents

aweld98

aweld98

 

Pointe Shoe Physics

When I was a little girl learning to dance, I dreamed of the day that I would put on a pair of pointe shoes and twirl like Clara from Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker".  Little did I know that pointe shoes make dancing about a million times more difficult and more painful.  Besides the basic discomfort that a ballerina experiences when squeezing her foot into an unconventionally shaped and small shoe, there are also a great amount of physics that go with explaining why pointe shoes are not the drea

aweld98

aweld98

 

Crime Shows

I have a bit of lagging start on my blog posts for this quarter, but here's to hoping that I can get back on track and start blogging weekly.  One of my favorite types of TV shows to watch are cop and crime shows because I love their mystery and thrill.  Recently, I was watching an episode of Castle when one of the main detectives was shot by a suspect.  For a solid two minutes, I thought that one my favorite character had died because he just lay their, completely still.  In the end, it turned

aweld98

aweld98

 

Fouette Turns

I used to be a ballet dancer, and I remember that one of the hardest skills to learn and master was the fouette turn.  This move requires the ballerina to extend her leg out and then bring it quickly in, all while completing a turn (see diagram below for clarity).  These turns can go on forever, and the secret behind their infinite completion is all based in the idea of conservation of angular momentum.  Angular momentum is equal to the moment of inertia (I) multiplied by omega (w).  Moment of i

aweld98

aweld98

 

Mozart No. 5

Yesterday at my violin lesson, my violin teacher spent the entire hour working with me on cleaning up my sound quality (I am playing a Mozart Concerto, so the sound has to be crisp and clean).  The main thing my teacher suggested in order to get rid of the crunchy and unclear sound I was producing was to apply a greater force to the bow.  After only a few tries, my sound became significantly clearer.  I figured there had to be some physics behind why a larger force resulted in a clearer tone.  U

aweld98

aweld98

 

Tubing

The start of November and its corresponding cold weather is making me miss summer more and more!  One of my all time favorite summer activities is tubing because it is so fun and thrilling.  Tubing has applications of both tangential  velocity as well as centripetal velocity and acceleration.  For example, when the boat makes a turn, causing the riders to go outside the wake of the boat, the tube and its riders are subject to a centripetal force caused by the tension in the rope.  Why?  Well, at

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aweld98

 

Bumper Cars

In the summer, one of the best things to do is to go to an amusement park.  For me, I cannot handle too many crazy, twisting roller coasters, but I love bumper cars.  And, as it turns out, bumper cars have many applications of both momentum and dynamics in the way they function and how they impact the riders.  For instance, when a bumper car and its passengers bump into another bumper car and its passengers, both cars and their passengers experience a change in direction; usually, if the car was

aweld98

aweld98

 

Plant Growth in Space

In my last blog I wrote about how essential gravity is to plants growth on Earth, so I decided to find out how plants can grow in space where the force of gravity is significantly smaller and/or non existent.  Turns out that plants can and have been grown on the International Space Station.  How?  Well, plants have an inner ability to orient their growth away from their seeds; it is almost like they know that they need to grow away from the seeds in order to access water and nutrients for surviv

aweld98

aweld98

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